HP puts handset software on the air

HP puts handset software on the air

HP is introducing an over-the-air software distribution system for mobile operators, a move that could help solve enterprises' looming challenge of managing wireless mobile devices like they do PCs.

The new Mobile Device Management (MDM) distribution tool goes beyond existing systems used for over-the-air updates of basic handset functions, according to director of the company's network and service-provider solutions business, Joy King. MDM lets carriers distribute updated versions of enterprise software and even new applications to high-powered mobile devices. HP expected operators first to embrace the system for consumer phone upgrades, but it could also solve a growing need of enterprise customers, King said.

As enterprises begin to deploy productivity applications in the field on advanced data-capable phones, they may want to control the new devices as tightly as PCs but face the challenge of having them constantly in employees' hands on the road.

With MDM, service providers could help enterprise customers by sending new software, such as an operating system upgrade or a home-grown sales force automation application, quickly to many devices over the cellular network, King said.

The system could also make it easier for consumers to download software to personalise their handsets or add capabilities such as multimedia messaging, she said. Those upgrades, as well as fixes for phone software bugs, could be handled over the air rather than requiring consumers to visit the carrier's store.

The MDM system, which incorporates applications from partner companies Gemplus, InnoPath Software and mFormation Technologies, is part of HP's mobile Service Delivery Platform (SDP) for mobile operators.

That platform brought together HP software, hardware and partner offerings with consulting and integration services to help operators get services out to subscribers. The software had been in commercial use at TeliaSonera since the end of last year, King said.

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